Curzon cinemas opens Bauhaus-inspired London flagship

Afroditi Krassa Studio has designed the interiors for the new flagship Curzon cinema in Victoria, London, basing the concept on Bauhaus and Modernist styles and classic cinema iconography.

One of the five main screens
One of the five main screens

Cinema brand Curzon currently has eight UK complexes – five of which are in London. It has invested  £3 million on the Victoria site, which will feature a ‘cultural hub’, café, lounge and library.

According to Curzon, the interior concepts is ‘state-of-the-art yet classic’, with  interior designs inspired by the Curzon’s branding. The look draws on the heritage of the Curzon’s word mark, which uses 1927 typeface Futura, referencing the Bauhaus design style. Other influences include the work of designer Eileen Grey.

Afroditi Krassa Studio was appointed to the project in August last year, and was brought in to create an interior concept that brought the Curzon brand to life over the four floors of the Victoria site.

Afroditi Krassa, consultancy founder, says, ‘In the hospitality industry the biggest experience of the brand is when you enter the space. The interior design shouldn’t be “on brand”, it should be the brand’.

The other Curzon sites use inherited interiors, and so the Victoria site’s bespoke  concept is likely to be rolled out to the other venues in future, according to Krassa.

One of the communal spaces
One of the communal spaces

Each floor of the building has a ‘specific identity’, says Krassa. The first floor features an ‘elegant’ bar area, as well as a sound and vision archive library with sofas, private televisions and headphones for visitors to watch the material on loan.

Lighting is ‘quite dark’ throughout the building, which boasts five main screens and a small private screen within a viewing box, which can be rented out for private parties and events.

Classic cinema iconography informs the space, with particular focus on the whitebox marquee sign, and the curtain. ‘We wanted to use very strong cinematic icons but in a contemporary context’, says Krassa.

She says, ‘“Classic” was a very important word for us – Curzon is a very honest brand with honest values, so [the interiors] will have quality and value beyond 2014, like the early Bauhaus, which still looks fresh today’.

The marquee icon has been reinterpreted for the space as a digital installation showing static and moving images; while the cinema curtain forms a large projection screen at the cinema’s street-level fascia.

A curtain showing projections
A curtain showing projections

The translucent white curtain will show passers-by visuals including scenes from old movies, as well as hosting design elements relating to the Curzon branding. Artist Sasha Litvintseva has created a reel to be screened on the curtain using footage from films distributed by Artificial Eye, the Curzon Group-owned film distribution arm.

According to Krassa, entering the cinema through the curtain ‘feels like you’re walking into a cinema screen’; and the incorporation of such technology is part of a bid by the Curzon to move away from an ‘arthouse 70s hippy brand image’.

She says, ‘We wanted to create a site not for the past but for the future. The Curzon has an 80-year heritage but we’re not referring to the past as a pastiche – it’s influenced by the pioneering spirit of a lot of the early Bauhaus [designers].

‘We’re using that visual language but embracing new technology and processes, creating a contemporary brand in a contemporary context but with a lot of that heritage still in place’.

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